Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: Real Men Don't Text

Dear Readers, please note, I received this book free of charge from the Tyndale Bloggers program in exchange for this review. 

When I offered to review Real Men Don't Text, I thought the book was written to men regarding how to engage women in real relationship, rather than controllable, safe, text exchanges to keep them at arms' length. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the book is actually written to women in order to warn them about manipulative relationships. While this misunderstanding created initial confusion, I invited the opportunity to learn something from a text written for a demographic other than my own. Sadly, I did not have a great experience with it.

In part, the issue with Real Men Don't Text is tone. Tone is the difference between a person receiving advice or condescension, of feeling understood or insulted. The tone of Real Men Don't Text is dually problematic. Due to its two authors, a husband and wife, the book's tone is inconsistent and, at times, confusing (p86-89). Additionally, both parties can give the impression of finger-wagging, which makes their message less appealing. At times, the content feels like it's coming from folks who have all the answers because life is going good for them right now, and if you would only avoid their mistakes and just take their advice, you'd be as fulfilled as they are. 

Tone aside, I'll grant that the book has some good things to say. For one, the authors are upfront about the difference between when a guy is interested in caring for a woman and when he is merely interested in self-fulfillment; one major theme of the book is "he just doesn't like you" (but is using you, so get rid of him). Additionally, the book is forthcoming about a young woman's responsibility to behave in a way that warrants respect. "You are always teaching people how to treat you," (p21) is a quote I will likely carry for some time. The authors also address the emptiness of sexting relationships (though neither of them engaged in such), and they stress the importance of real interpersonal communication. These are all good thoughts, and at times they are communicated well.

At others they are not. For example, the "text translations" found in each chapter describing what men "really" mean in their texts become tiresome, as do the additional inserted anecdotes of broken hearts and bad choices, many of which come across as generic copies of pain rather than the true heartbreak that occurs in abusive relationships. I would have preferred that only the stories directly told by the authors within the context of the chapter's prose been included, for some of those are startling and authentically poignant.

In fairness, The book is a relatively fast read, which is saying something for a work of nonfiction. Inasmuch as the tone or some issues of content are problematic, any reader will likely find her (or his) way through the text quickly. 

I truly wanted to like this book more than I did, but then again, Real Men Don't Text was not written to or for me. As something of a niche author myself, I can understand that some books just do not work for some readers, but that doesn't mean they won't be a good fit for somebody else (and based on the other reviews I'm seeing, this is almost certainly the case).

You can read other reviews and check out more about the book at the link provided below:

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